Archive for October, 2015

Chocolate Brown Trellis in a Powder Room

October 21, 2015
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This trellis pattern is very popular, and has been knocked-off by many different wallpaper manufacturers. I hung this in an under-the-stairs powder room in West University Place, in Houston, for a family expecting their first child very soon.

This version is by Ronald Redding, by York Wallcoverings. The white is a thickish raised ink, looking and feeling a little like gesso. The dark brown background is a thick and stiff non-woven material, which is a little tricky to work with. It’s main benefit is that when it’s time to redecorate, it is supposed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece.

This material is also a paste-the-wall product, although the manufacturer says you can paste the paper too, if you prefer. There are pros and cons to each method, and today I chose to paste the wall. The wallpaper and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

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Color Variations in Grasscloth

October 18, 2015
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If you choose a grasscloth product, it’s important to keep in mind that the stems of grass cannot be matched from one strip to another. Even more important is to understand that there most likely will be variations in color from one strip to another (“paneling”), even if they are taken from the same bolt of material. You can see this in the strips over the fireplace.

In addition, there can be “shading,” which refers to variations in color within a strip of wallpaper. For instance, the slightly lighter color on the outer edges of each strip of wallpaper in the photos.

To really emphasize this, in the second photo, you can see the horizontal demarcation where the color changes from dark to lighter in a straight horizontal line about 8″ below the crown molding.

All of these features are listed in the manufacturer’s sales information and again in their hanging instructions, and are, by industry standards, considered to be part of “the inherent natural beauty of the product.”

Pretty in Purple

October 13, 2015
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The young owners of this newish home in the Houston Heights inherited a guest bedroom that had been drenched in a bright lavender color. They liked the color, but wanted to brighten and enliven the room, but also tone down all that pinky-purple. They also have an eye on a room that would work for a nursery down the road …

I suggested they visit Dorota (see below), and she helped them find this pattern. The color couldn’t be more perfect with the paint on the walls, and the pattern is lively, and it’s charming, without being overly sweet. It’s a grey day, and my cheapie camera is not showing the true colors of this beautiful paper – and I forgot to take a shot of the painted walls, to show how nicely the colors compliment one another. But, trust me, this is one of the best coordinated rooms I’ve seen.

Atypically, they did not do just one accent wall, but two walls opposite one another. I don’t always suggest this approach, but I have to agree this time, it looks fantastic.

I loved working with this wallpaper. It is part of the Eco Chic line, by Wall Quest, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Hits & Misses – Gaps & Overlaps

October 12, 2015
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You have to click the image to see it enlarged, to see the seam I am talking about.  Also, the bumps are from paste, and will disappear as it dries.

This is a nice brand of wallpaper (Ecochic by Wallquest). But there are issues with factory trimming the manufacturer should rectify … Obviously, the edges of the paper have not been cut absolutely straight, because you can see areas where the seam butts together perfectly, and then you see small gaps, and then you see sections that minutely overlap. We call these “gaps and overlaps,” or “hit and miss” seams. Even though this particular paper was quite pliable, no matter how I manipulated or worked the seams, I could not achieve absolutely perfect seams.

The good news is that, from a couple of feet away from the wall, you don’t notice any of this, and the overall look is perfectly fine.

Coloring the Edges on a Dark Faux Grasscloth

October 11, 2015
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I am not happy with the shading and paneling that is typical of most natural grasscloth products, nor with the unmatchable pattern. So I suggest that homeowners consider the fake stuff, made of vinyl. I love this faux grass, by Thibaut. It has a texture to it, if reverse-hung (every other strip is hung upside down) there are no color variations or paneling, it is strong vinyl on a sturdy scrim (fabric) backing, is water proof, scrubable, and virtually indestructible.

So I was pleased when this Tanglewood area couple took my advice and went with this product for the husband’s home office. I have hung it many times, in many colors – twice this summer in the navy blue. There is plenty of light and open space in this room, so the dark color will feel snug, but not cave-like.

Because the product is backed with white vinyl and reinforced with white woven fabric, it’s probable that some of that white will show at the seams. To prevent that, I took a navy blue oil pastel (from an art store) and ran it down the edges of every strip of wallpaper, taking care to do this from the back, to avoid getting color on the surface. Once the strips went up, the seams were virtually invisible.

Purple Grasscloth in a Family Room

October 10, 2015
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Well, it’s more of a plum than a purple, but it’s a beautiful color, and it shook the room – and the whole house – out of its monochromatic nap and into a cheery and energized state – perfect for a busy family with two pre-school children.

The wall started out painted a deep chocolate brown. It was “nice,” but “not enough.” This richly colored grasscloth in a plum hue injected a whole ‘nother stage of color and emotion. It is by Schumacher, and I hung it on a feature wall (fireplace wall) in a newish home in the Houston Heights. The last picture shows a close-up of the beautiful and warm texture of the product.

Note that grasscloth has no pattern and cannot be matched at the seams, so the seams will always be visible to some degree. You can also expect color differences between strips – even those that come off the same roll of wallpaper.

These slight variations in color and texture are considered to be part of the “inherent beauty of this natural product,” and are expected and appreciated with grasscloth jobs.

The interior designer for this job is Pamela O’Brien, of Pamela Hope Designs, in Houston.

Master Bedroom Feature Wall – White on Soft Blue

October 9, 2015

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This pup looks like he’s in a 1930’s Hollywood glamor movie shot, doesn’t he?

The owners of this newish home in the Houston Heights were originally looking at a smaller design that was sort of a blue pen-and-ink drawing on a white background. At our initial consultation, I told them I thought the fist-sized scale was too timid, and that the thin ink lines were too frail for such a large wall (it’s about 15′ wide by 10′ high).

After consulting with Dorota (see below), they chose this pattern. This is a much better choice! The size of the motif stands up to the dimensions of the wall, and holds its own against the tufted headboard without overpowering it. The color harmonizes perfectly with the paint on the other three walls, and the overall look is fantastic.

Even Bob gives his approval. 🙂

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, #839-T-158, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Wallpapered Powder Rooms in the Houston Chronicle

October 6, 2015

One of my favorite interior designers, Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope Designs http://www.pamelahopedesigns.com/ , got a shout-out in this newspaper article. (I also know one of the other designers.) These designers used wallpaper in just about all of the featured powder rooms. Click the link to read their reasons. Click the link, and you will also see some of my work!

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/life/home/design/article/Creating-a-jewel-box-How-to-make-your-powder-6476711.php?t=559b4fe0b9438d9cbb&cmpid=email-premium#photo-8561596

Disguising a Bowed Wall

October 4, 2015
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When hanging wallpaper, you (generally) never wrap a full-width strip of paper around an inside corner. Instead, you cut the piece into two strips, measuring and trimming carefully so the first strip will wrap about 1/16″ around the corner, and then you butt the second strip into the corner, overlapping that little bit that is wrapped around the corner.

One thing that can throw the pattern match off is if the wall is bowed. Then a differing amount of the pattern could wrap the corner at the top of the wall, compared to what appears at the bottom of the wall. That is what happened here. The pattern matches perfectly in the corner for the first 7.5 feet (not shown), but begins to gap as you get close to the floor.

Twisting the paper to conform is not an option, because it causes wrinkles, creates torque, and distorts the opposite edge, making it difficult for the next strip of wallpaper to butt up correctly.

Thus, we ended up with this slightly mis-matched pattern in the corner near the bottom of the wall. (Photo I) To keep this mis-match from jarring the eye, I dug into my trusty stash of craft paint, found my tiniest paint brush, and filled in the gaps. (Photo III)

Phillip Jeffries Grasscloth in a Close-In Entry Way

October 3, 2015

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This finely textured, silvery grasscoth pattern is by Phillip Jeffries.

The walls were originally painted a semi-gloss white – and, boy, was it boring 5.00. This slightly darker color, along with its texture and feeling of warmth, have turned the entry from stark and unexceptional to warm and welcoming.